Why go to church?

By , November 23, 2013

“…till I entered the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their final destiny.”
Psalm 73:17 (NIV)

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The person who wrote our verse for today had a major problem. Apparently, he had been a faithful follower of the Lord. He had embraced the salvation God offered and walked in an obedient manner before the Lord. However, those who flaunted God’s laws and were actively evil seemed to prosper, while he lived in poverty and possibly poor health.

Something was very wrong with this picture and he struggled with his faith. What was the use of serving God if all you get is trouble and sorrow? Why did God allow the wicked to be so happy and rich when he struggled to survive? These questions haunted him as he examined the lavish lifestyle of wicked people.

He confessed in the Psalm that he could not speak to God’s people around him for fear that he would offend them and perhaps undermine their faith in God. Sometimes we too can be so discouraged by our problems that we feel we cannot speak to anyone about our doubts lest we be rejected and criticized.

About half way through this Psalm the writer has an about face. Something turns his thinking around completely. What is it? Well, he goes to church and learns something profound about the prosperity of the wicked.

God’s people in former days were accustomed to referring to “the means of grace”. What did they mean by that expression? Well, they were talking about the things that brought grace and blessing from God to His people. They classified numerous things as means of grace such as, prayer, reading the Bible and worship in His house with His people.

The writer of our verse was blessed through being in God’s house with His people. We do not know if he received earthly riches by attending church, probably not of course. However, his mind was filled with knowledge of what was coming in the future. He learned that the wicked rich would come under the eternal judgment of God.

Then the writer learned that God was his treasure—and that was what made him rich. He had God’s presence with him forever, God’s hand was in his, guiding him. God would continually give him wisdom to live well, and finally God would take the writer to be with Him forever.

Since he had such “riches”, the writer learned to be content with his modest lifestyle considering that he had eternal riches than nothing nor anyone could remove from him. Do you have this treasure of God Himself? Does He counsel you daily? Do you sense His presence with you? He freely offers Himself to you if you will turn from your own ways to His. He will receive all who are truly humbled and who confess their need of Him. Will you come and come today?

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